Sign Shop


Use of Series E alphabet

Location: Entire state.

Series E  Series E Mod  Clearview

There are three different letter sets on the control cities: 1. Series E mixed case, 2. Series E(Modified) Mixed Case, 3. Clearview. The third sign is entirely done in Clearview.

There has been a lot of research and discussion regarding the new typeface appearing on road signs. This new style is called Clearview. It's main purpose is to increase legibility by reducing the amount of halation or overglow of the traditional "Highway Gothic" alphabet, which is officially called FHWA Series E Modified.

Series E Modified was designed for button copy lettering so it has a wider stroke making up the letters than Clearview. However, Series E Modified's all capital counterpart, Series E, makes use of a slightly narrower stroke. In my opinion, Series E in mixed case is better suited for today's sign fabrication methods than the current Series E Modified.

In late 2006 I saw a new sign installation on I-390 in Rochester that utilitized Series E instead of Series E Modified for the legend. I decided to mess around with the design myself, and the results are above. You'll note that the letters are slightly thinner on the destinations on the left hand panel. I believe this approach approximates the improvements demonstrated by the use of Clearview.

In addition, on this particular graphic, you'll notice "New York" instead of "New York City". That's just a nitpick of mine, since there's technically no such place as "New York City", it's the "City of New York", not the "City of New York City". Unfortunately, there's been an inconsistent approach to the name of the Big Apple on recent sign replacements.